Best Practices to Scan Large-format Documents [2024 Guide]

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Having a digital copy of official oversized documents is paramount. Digitization will not only provide flexibility of use and long-time preservations but also help you automate your business processes. There are many other advantages that you can avail. One of the bigger ones is to help in saving the environment and making use of the virtual platforms that are providing cost-effective storage.

Scan Large-format Documents

The organizations maintaining large documents have several questions in their mind before they opt for a digitization process. Some of the common queries are:

  • How do you digitize oversized documents?
  • How do you digitize your most important documents?
  • Where can I scan a lot of documents?
  • How do I make large picture files?
  • What are the latest techniques used for scanning oversized documents?

If you are having oversized documents then digitizing them would be a priority task for your organization. Don’t worry! This post covers a detailed process on the digitization of large documents. Also, the answers to the above questions will be provided in the post. Let’s get to know the details.

What Are Large Format Documents/Oversized Documents?

Large Format Documents or oversized documents are records that are larger than the  “standard” size pages, such as office (or letter ) size (8.5” x 11”), legal-size (8.5” x 14”), and ledger size documents (11” x 17”).

Some of the examples of oversized doc types are:

  • Blueprints
  • Engineering drawings
  • CAD Files
  • Posters
  • Over-sized drawings
  • Well Location Drawings
  • Well Logs
  • Maps
  • Architectural drawings
  • Plats
  • Sectional index books
  • USGS quads
  • Contour Maps
  • Parcel Maps
  • Utility Maps
  • Floor Plans
  • Building Plans
  • Oversized land/title records
  • Construction documents
  • Aerial photographs
  • Land surveys
  • A0 sized documents
  • NewspapersOversize books (pages greater than 11” x 17”)

 The ANSI standards define the size of larger documents as:

  • C size 17” x 22”
  • D size 22” x 34”
  • E size 34” x 44”y scanning these documents using the LED scanners or flatbed scanners

The process converts oversized documents to small and easy to manage, access while maintaining the original quality of papers. The converted digital file types are: .PDF, .TIFF, .DWG, .DXF, and. JPEG formats.

Another type of dimension is “architectural” (mostly used in North America), with the dimensions below:

  • C size 18” x 24”
  • D size 24” x 36”
  • E size 36” x 48”

 These are standard dimensions set by ARCH Large Format Dimensions

Where Are Large Format Documents Found?

 Many organizations use these large file formats for architectural and structural planning. Some of the places where they are normally found are:

  • Building & Planning Departments
  • The contractor with engineering drawings
  • Old bound books
  • Libraries & Archives

Why Scanning Large Format Documents?

When it comes to managing documents, you need to have proper space. However, digging through cabinets and drawers to locate documents is not an easy task. In comparison, maintaining digital documents would be easier at any time. That’s the feedback we get from our clients.

Scanning large format documents saves space, time, and money while giving your company the ability to work and collaborate on electronic files rather than large, cumbersome pages. Lets find out its other benefits,

Benefits of Oversized Document Scanning

 The major benefit is the reduction of the size. However, some more benefits are listed as:

  • Boosting Productivity –  Once the scanning is done, you can create digital folders on your PC or cloud space and store the documents in them. Systematic storage will help you boost work productivity by saving and sharing documents.
  • Architectural Drawings To Scan Simplified Storage And Management –  Preserving engineering drawings and maps is the most difficult task for any organization. By converting them in the digital format, you can securely store them which will be easy to manage.
  • Central Storage And Indexing – When the scanning is done, files are indexed, so you can sort them by name, date created, file type, and other categories. This solves the file management issues, especially for old files.
  • Keyword Search And Accessibility – Instead of removing rubber bands and sifting through papers, digital large format documents that are indexed can be found and accessed using a simple keyword search. The category defined or creation date could be useful and time-saving.
  • Secure Backups And Archiving – Many large-format documents need to be kept for extended periods. Additionally, it only takes a right-click to create a spare copy, so files can be easily and regularly backed up to a separate drive or server.

Top Methods Used To Scan Large Documents

What Are Large Format Documents

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Suitable Digitization Method

Oversized document scanning differs from “normal” scanning mostly because of the method in which the records need to be digitized. The oversized scanners are different and are costly.

 Depending on the size, condition, and considering the request from our client, we at eRecordsUSA adopt some common methods such as:

  • Large Format Rotary Scanner

This is our most-used large format scanner, typically utilized for large format sheets that come from building and planning departments. But if the document is in a fragile state then a planetary scanner will be a much better option.

  • Flatbed Scanners

Large-format flatbed scanners are a great solution for fragile or uneven documents. Documents of any thickness can be scanned on the bed of the device. Since documents are not fed through the scanner, fragile items like newspapers or historic documents will not be damaged. Another advantage of flatbed scanners is that they have a very wide color gamut and high optical resolution, perfect for scanning photos, graphic arts, and other colorful documents.

  • Custom Overhead Camera Scanners

 These scanners help in scanning books like large documents in large volumes. The overhead camera can take a more clear scan than the normal scanner. Normally, two cameras are situated at opposite ends of the overhead portion of the scanner, one each pointed at the two sides of the document.

  • Digital Format Outputs

Once your records are digitized, you’ll get the scanned images back in some form or electronic format. There are various output formats you can get. As a quick overview, below are some file types and other items you can consider:

  • Cropped Images

The basic image and what you likely imagine when you hear “digital file.”are in the cropped form with the reduced size. Some common file types for large documents used are:

    • PDF
    • TIFF
    • JPG or JPEG
  • Resolution

The number of pixels per inch (PPI, also known as DPI) is used to create an image. Our scanning standard is 300dpi.

  • Image Format

The way that you want your digital image presented.

    • Bi-tonal – black and white, it’s usually the smallest file size. Good for clean images.
    • Grayscale –a more life-like representation of the original document. Good for poor-quality images, though the file size is usually larger.
    • Color – color scanning gives you the true representation of the original image but is usually the largest file size, which may have a downside if you’re limited on storage space
  • Delivery method

    • USB
    • FTP
    • Digital ReeL
    • Cloud Storage

How Much Does It Cost To Scan Oversized Documents?

The average cost to scan large format documents is between $0.50 and $5.00 per page. Small projects of less than 100 pages will be on the higher end of the price spectrum. For clients that need several thousand large format documents scanned, pricing can be as low as $0.50 per page.

Other factors that can affect pricing for oversized documents scanning projects are:

  • Turnaround time. How soon do you need the documents?
  • What condition are your documents in? Older, fragile documents take more time and care.
  • Indexing requirements. How many data fields do we need to index for each document?

Note: Our price per image includes document prep, scanning, post-scan processing, indexing, quality assurance, and data export.

Which Company Will Help You Digitize Oversized Documents In The Best Possible Way?

Project requirements vary, therefore choosing a company nearby your office that can help you generate digital copies of your precious documents would be a wise step. At eRecords USA, we’ll work with you to ensure that the digital files you receive at the end of your conversion project are what you need based on your overall goal.

 Note: We also offer documents shredding or returning service to our clients.  Free pickup and return are available for high-volume jobs.

Ready to scan your large format documents? Contact us and we’ll connect you with a sales rep to discuss the particulars of your project and see if we’re the right fit.

Final Tweaks

Outsourcing your scanning to a large format scanning service is the first step in your transition from paper to electronic files. Once your company has decided to go for it then you must consult a company that can deliver high-quality at the best market price and meets your timelines. Some large firms also demand a document management system.

So, ensure that you choose a reputed company that can accommodate the services you desire.

See also  Use of Patient Chart Scanning Services

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    What Our Client Says

    •   Mr. Sharma is very professional and friendly.  We had eRecords scan our books for archive purposes.  The quality of their service is amazing.  They are fast and timely.  I am very glad that we used eRecords to scan our books and wouldn't hesitate to contact eRecords if we need digitizing/imaging service in the future.

      thumb Esther L.
    •   eRecords has provided an amazing high quality scanning work for our books. Mr. Sharma is very detail oriented and the results are just excellent!

      thumb Eliana D.
    •   I contacted eRecords for a small-scale scanning job. Although they usually work on large projects, Pankaj was more than willing to help with what I was looking for! The scans that came back were high quality, and delivered in a timely matter. eRecords was also the business that quoted me the most competitive price. I would definitely recommend - Pankaj is knowledgable and a great collaborator to work with on meeting any scanning service you may need.

      thumb Nina P.
    •   ERecords USA has provided Fast, Timely, and Amazing quality service for scanning my books and magazines. Ritika, Pankaj, and their Staff are very friendly, flexible, and easy to work with. They go above and beyond in their service. I give them  A+++.

      thumb Rahul P.
    •   I have used eRecordsUSA on three separate occasions and each job was performed exceptionally. All files scanned at high resolution, organized, and returned in a timely manner. Pricing was also very reasonable for such time-intensive work. Management was also very good with their communication.

      I am a digital nomad that owns zero paper, so having all of my files in Google Drive is imperative. With Google's OCR (Optical Coherence Recognition) I can now find my files at lightning speed. ie - I search for [deed], [roof repair], [assessment], etc. and all relevant files "automagically" appear.

      thumb Cameron V.
    •   EXCELLENT quality work. VERY professional. I had some kids art work scanned high resolution that was too large for the scanners at copy shops. eRecordsUSA did a fantastic job and I highly recommend them.

      thumb Stephen M.
    •   ERecords USA provided a fast and accurate turnaround for a request to duplicate X-Rays.  They ensured that copies were accurate prior to payment and went out of their way to produce within a short time.

      thumb Beth S.
    •   Erecords scanned 56 bankers boxes of legal case files and other professional documents for me. This was a particularly difficult and complex job because, in naming files, they had to work from both a written file inventory and the file names on the folders themselves and use a consistent file naming protocol that Erecords and I agreed upon. They did an outstanding job of following this file naming protocol and organizing the documents in digital form to create the file structure that I intended. This job was also difficult because of the variety of page sizes and the age and condition of some of the documents; they managed to accurately capture everything. They also made the job easier for me by picking the documents up at my home. Pankaj at E records was invariably courteous and helpful and spent the time needed with me before the job to develop a digital file structure to make the documents most useful. I highly recommend Erecords for document scanning.

      thumb David L.
    •   I chose eRecords to scan over 2000 pages of yearbooks and several hundred photos from the early 90's to early 00's. I was not disappointed. They were one of the few locations in the Bay Area that I contacted that let me drop off and pickup the material in person. The JPG and PDF scans that they sent me were extremely high quality and OCR'd the yearbooks so I can search for text. They were able to repair one of my yearbook's bindings to the point where I couldn't even find the repair! This place is professional and good value for what I received. If something ever happened to my irreplaceable yearbooks and photos I know they're digitized now and backed up to multiple locations on my network and cloud! Highly recommended, Pankaj and eRecords!

      thumb David B.
    •   I found eRecordsUSA on an internet search and contacted them to inquire about scanning to PDFs a set of some six hundred old, faded, tattered pages of an underground/community newspaper I co-founded fifty years ago.  I lucked out on this first call, finding a most professional, efficient, accessible, top notch company to help me archive my newspaper despite these trying, pandemic times.

      thumb Ted R.